Contemplations on All-Star Game 2006
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Home to one of, if not the most aesthetically pleasing ballparks in all of baseball. Pittsburgherians are most deserving for such an occasion as the All-Star game. According to MLB.com, locals are known for their friendly nature and community pride. They also have an array of delicious bars and restaurants inside and within a few miles of PNC park. Try the Market Street Ale House for a great happy hour (21 Market Square), or, if you’re into live music and go to Carnegie Mellon on a fine arts scholarship, the Lava Lounge (2204 E. Carson Street), which apparently has molten and coral covered booths. The Pirates website reads, “Perhaps the strongest inspiration for PNC Park's design is the legacy of the Pirates themselves. Few cities can boast of a 115-year relationship with the same Major League ballclub. Pittsburgh deserves nothing less than a ballpark classic that will enthrall fans for generations to come.” And if they wish to have another 115 years in Pittsburgh they should probably stop putting poo in right field, first base, center field, catcher, and in the entire bullpen. Yes, Pittsburghers deserve to see some real players. Take a day off Sean Casey, Jeremy Burnitz, and Nate McClouth, you have taken too many victims in your career already. Make way for some real baseball stars. The Chicago White and the New York Mets are coming to town—get excited. (The White Sox and Mets have a combined thirteen players in this years game.)
But besides the festivities and the lounging, what does the All-Star game really mean? Does anybody really care who wins or loses? Does Bud Selig’s home field advantage rule change make any sense? Should Ozzie Guillen be banned permanently from the All-Star game for leaving off Travis Hafner and Francisco Liriano, in favor of Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle? Not to say that these two haven’t had quality years, but you’re talking about the best hitter and best pitcher in baseball so far this year, not on the All-Star roster. Naughty Baseball explores.
I don’t think I’ve watched the All-Star game in its entirety since I was twelve, and judging by baseball’s recently passed rule changes, not many other people care either. At one point, apparently, back when men were men, and played their hearts out every game for the simple glory of playing, the All-Star game was really popular. The year was 1933. Now, I’m not saying I blame the players for not trying harder, I’m just criticizing the recently passed rule changes by Bud Selig. The winner of the All-Star game gets home field advantage for their league in that years World Series. Now, maybe Ozzie’s “own” selections make more sense. Perhaps, he thinks that if he puts more White Sox on the team than they will try harder because they are actually playing for an extra game in the World Series. For instance, if I’m Mark Redman, maybe I wouldn’t throw my injury prone arm out for the ultimate glory of the White Sox, Tigers, Yankees or Red Sox. Not to mention that in a grueling 162 game season, three-days rest in mid-July is nothing short of paradise. Drinking beers on my porch or playing baseball another day? The choice is easy.
The much hyped home run derby is kind of cool, but still nothing to brag about. An endless amount of “towering” home runs kind of loses steam after the first batter. Sure, It’ll be fun to see Ryan Howard, David Ortiz and Miguel Cabrera smash baseballs, but Lance Berkman and Jermaine Dye? I could do without. Now, if there was a legends of home run derby, where roided ex-celebrities like Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa could try their luck against Berkman and co., this would be worth my precious time. Yet, somehow I don’t think this is the message MLB wants to send.
While I have filed many complaints about the All-Star game, I don’t have many solutions on how to solve it. My advice: take a few days off from baseball. Unless of course you live in Pittsburgh. In that case, hit the Ale House for a couple brews, and pray Kevin McClatchy learns something from the game. Maybe Pittsburgh will stop torturing their fans, and actually sign one of these “stars.”